by Larri Jo StarkeyThe American Quarter Horse Journal
Ashley Lembke circles up on Sir Rey Of Oak as she wins her first world championship in her first trip to the AQHA World Championship Show. (Journal photo)
Ashley Lembke wanted to go down the fence.
More than anything else, the Texas Tech University graduate wanted to get on her cow horse, push a cow down the fence and feel the rush and burn as her horse turned into the cow and sent her back the other direction.
So when Ashley won her first world championship in working cow horse, it wasn’t by going down the fence.
On November 15, Ashley and Sir Rey Of Oak were named amateur world champions at the 2013 AQHA World Championship Show, with a dynamic cow work that included two field turns, unassisted by the fence, before they circled their cow up tight.
“As long as I’ve shown that gelding, I’ve been really conservative and held back with him,” Ashley said. “I’ve been too scared to let him go, and my trainer (Kyle Noyce) said, ‘If you’re ever going to let him go, now would be the time to do it,’ and I did and it worked out good.
“The first cow, they (whistled) me off, and I got a new one and did two open field turns and lost my stirrup and was just hanging on.”
Ashley could hear the crowd screaming encouragement as her run neared the end.
“I just hung on, and he did it,” she said.
Her score was 220.5 in the dry work and 222.5 for the cow work..
“When I was a little girl, we always got the Quarter Horse Journal and you could see the pictures of the (world champions in front of the) blue background, and (winning a world championship) is something you dream of happening, but I didn’t think I’d get it done – not my first time here,” Ashley said.
Her dream did not include winning first place in Intermediate and having famed cow horse breeder Carol Rose of Gainesville, Texas, place the winner’s wreath around her horse’s neck.
“I was bawling out there in front of Carol,” Ashley said. “I said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ She said, ‘It’s OK, honey.’”
Ashley rode for the Texas Tech Stock Horse of Texas team in boxing with Kris Wilson, now with Bell Ranch in New Mexico, but she wanted to go down the fence.
“I worked with (Kyle), and he has taken me from not knowing anything to here,” she said. “And thanks to Ross Erickson, who also helps me – and my husband, Tyrel, has been very supportive of whole ordeal. He’s not really into horses but he supports me 100 percent.”
About a year ago, Ashley bought Sir Rey Of Oak, a 2007 sorrel gelding by Dual Rey and out of PCR Starlights Oak by Grays Starlight. “Ruger” was bred by Tree Top Ranches of Parma, Idaho, and he has $5,662.04 in National Reined Cow Horse Association earnings.
“He went to the Snaffle Bit Futurity as a 3-year-old with Kyle and he had a couple of owners before I got hold of him,” she said. “We put him in the bridle and showed him a little bit before this. It was the goal all year – to come here.”
Ruger will get anything he wants as a reward for being a horse who can go down the fence without a fence, Ashley said, adding with a laugh, “He’s for sale for $1 million.”
It's your moment; make it last forever! Videos of individual runs and class finals from the AQHA World Championship Show are available for purchase at www.aqha.com/mymoment. Plus, you can watch AQHA World Show video footage 24/7. This new service is optimized for Internet Explorer 10, Safari and most mobile Web browsers.